pets

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Nechama taking a walk

We were talking about mysticism, enlightenment, and understanding life itself, a conversation with a friend that stayed with me and accompanied me as I went out to take a walk the next day, Nechama with me, taking her own steps in the park behind our home. She’s never on a leash, but sometimes she walks with me, by my side. This time she was smelling the flowers and the leaves of the plant life in the garden. There were no dogs about, so she was quite relaxed, and it was early enough in the day for the weather to be pleasant. The very best of summer weather.

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Now and then, I would get too far ahead of her, and she would run to catch up. But when we got back to walking, it didn’t take much time till she was sidetracked again by the pleasures of nature.

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These two dimensional iron cat sculptures have been erected in back of a local Arab-Israeli school

I’d been thinking of writing about the experiences remembered in last night’s conversation, levels of consciousness and intuition, as I watched Nechama investigating the familiar plant life, knowing that she was sensitive to signs and history that I didn’t see, and it occurred to me that I had not yet shared with you the great respect I feel for friendship between human beings and members of other species.

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Maybe because I myself am a city boy, born and raised… and having lived almost all of my life in the city, there’s always been an underlying fear that we human beings have distanced ourselves from other forms of animal life, and have become more and more complacent within the human bubble, surrounding ourselves with man made inventions, and often preferring two dimensional fantasy to confrontation with nature.

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Usually when we think of pets, we think of the companionship that they provide. Sometimes even when locked in a cage, or swimming in a small body of water in an aquarium. But there is more to relating to an animal, and as one grows closer to the animal one learns to feel the joy and the pain of that other species… and there is always that chance of finding answers to the very questions we ask ourselves.

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I believe that the dog is the most popular pet in the world, and he is known as man’s best friend. In Hebrew, the very word ‘dog’ means ‘like a heart’ when literally translated into English. I had already lived a full life when I first became friends with a dog, and though I had always treasured my many meetings with different animals, both domestic and wild, I discovered a new (to me) level of communication with that bitch.

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the mature hyrax keeps an eye on the territory. the young one has an adventurous spirit

My first relationship with an animal began when a cat took interest in me, and initiated friendship. I was a small boy at the time, wary of all human company, and had taken a chair and a book to read in the shade of a tree. When the cat approached, I was too shy to even pet him, so we locked eyes and looked at one another for the longest time. And that cat made the moves. Since then I have had similar contacts with many different mammals and birds. It has often been an awesome experience. Occasionally there have been misunderstandings or severe differences. I have experienced happiness and sorrow. I’ve learned from animals so, so much, and the most I’ve learned from cats.

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a painting on the curb, between the street and the sidewalk

When reading Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography, I came across a couple of bear stories, including one in which the bear almost did him in. While reading that book I felt love and respect for Roosevelt, and so it was almost painful for me that I was unable to share with him (he died before I was born) my own confrontation with a bear in which we eventually sat down face to face in a forest at night, and shared the space in peace. Of course, Roosevelt had been hunting at the time, and it’s hard to get on even footing with another living thing once you’ve been hunting him.

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on my way to take the bus

I know that too from my own experience, though I never hunted an animal with a gun. But when I was still a very young man, I met a buck deer in the forest once. He was very cautious at first, but satisfied himself that I was not going to do him any harm. And so we stood there for a while, about two meters separating us in this small clearing. He might have been interested in food, but I offered him none. And then when I’d gotten pretty relaxed and figured he felt the same, I reached for my camera, and lifted it in front of my eyes. It was at that moment that he lunged forward and kicked me in the chest with one of his legs before running away. He knocked me down. I’ve been a little more cautious about photographing without permission since.

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59 responses to “pets

  1. I love this post, Shimon. As you know, we have had many other animals in our house, too.

    Right now, we have 4 cats and 4 dogs as companions, and I’m fostering rescue dogs until they’re adopted. And of course, the turkeys, groundhogs, raccoons and their babies, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and too-many bunnies are always passing through the acres and woods here. (And, unfortunately, the gardens. 🙂 )

    But our sweetheart Mulligan, a funny, mysterious orange cat, is dying, and we all have shifted our steady attention to his needs and humors for now.

    Our friends teach us both in their living and dying, and so have provided many of the deepest attachments and relationships of our lives. Love to you and to the regal Nechama.

    • I remember Mulligan. Very sorry to hear of his condition, though I know he is among dear friends which is very good luck and unexpected for a cat. Usually, cats hide away when ill. He was a lucky cat. And yes, Kitty, I know you are an animal friendly household. I treasure such environments. And it is those same deep attachments and relationships that teach us humility, and help us accept our mortality in this world. I am forever indebted to the animals I’ve loved throughout my life. Thanks so much.

  2. I owned a dog and a horse, or more like they owned me. Uniquely different relationships, both a privilege.

    • I know what you mean, Judy, when you speak of who owns whom. That’s what happens in love. We realize we can’t own one another, and there are those constant efforts to make life pleasing for those we love. Both horses and dogs are very attuned to the human spirit. They’ve been raised and cultured for many generations by human beings, and repeatedly chosen by us for qualities that we admire. I feel as you do, that it’s a privilege to be friends with them.

  3. “One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But if you don’t talk to the animals, they won’t talk back to you, then you won’t understand, and when you don’t understand you will fear, and when you fear you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself. —Chief Dan George

    • Thank you so much for your valuable contribution, ekurie. I had never heard of Chief Dan George until you mentioned him, and have since looked him up and found quite a bit of information about him, including the fact that he wrote two books. As for what you quoted, all my life I’ve spoken to animals, and my children continue to do so. Speech is our way of communicating, and when we don’t use it, we are closing the gate to mutual understanding.

  4. I have been known to greet a dog before I acknowledge the person at the other end of the leash. Oh, dear–the deer, Shimon. Kind of funny, though…

    • Yes, there is always something funny about watching a human being get bounced on his bottom, especially if he hides behind a mask. I can look back at that incident with a smile. As for greeting an animal, I think most people greet one another as soon as they feel each other’s presence. Don’t think it matters much which is first, though they say that righteous people are always quick to greet others.

  5. Shimon and the Bear. That sounds like one brilliant tale. So many wise thoughts and impressions here. I love the picture you paint of your promenade with Nechama – sometimes together, sometimes not, according to her whim, or your swifter steps. I suppose at the root of our having a successful relationship with animals is remembering to respect them.

    • I agree with you there, Tish. Successful relationships both with humans and with other animals is based on respect. From time to time, I’ve come across thoughts on mindfulness on the internet… and it seemed to me that they were talking about respect. The way I was taught, the first step to awareness of the world around us is just that… and eventually we can find our way to love.

  6. What a beautiful post dear Shimon, I loved so much, you know I do love animals too but cats more.. Thank you, Happiness and Blessing to you both, Love, nia

    • Thanks very much Nia. I know your love for cats and share it with you. I believe that in getting to know animals, it is easiest to start out with those areas we have in common with them. Many people feel a special affinity towards cats because they are so independent, and stand by their principles even when it’s difficult. They are also fastidious, which is something that engages me. Wishing you health and happiness always, with love.

  7. Oh, you got hoofed! Deer defense so dear.
    Enjoyed walking along and wandering in your thought. Will look forward to your writing about those experiences remembered. (Did you catch the recent research study that while interaction is important as one ages, the quality of the conversations seem to be important: small talk seemed to have little effect while deeper discussions and conversations seem to make people healthier and live longer and better as they age…of course more research is needed …is it the topics or the need for the brain to think deeply, interpret, analyze and respond? That’s the question apparently)
    Love the cat statues.
    …”there is more to relating to an animal, and as one grows closer to the animal…” quite an door of awareness there. Sounds like you were judged worthy with a cat adopting you, and others then taking notice…and then there’s the hoofing…treated deer to dear – notice of respect perhaps? HAHA
    Enjoyed the thoughts

    • Thanks for bringing that new research to my attention, Phil. I hadn’t seen it, but it makes a lot of sense. It seems to me that as we grow older, we lose some of our patience (among a lot of other things),and so good manners, though preferable to the alternative, are not enough to give us the sensation of really enjoying life. We get older and get more choosy. But it’s quite likely that some younger men and women prefer meaningful conversation to social exchanges. Maybe that’ll turn up on a doctoral thesis soon. As for the deer, he taught me a valuable lesson. I was too confident in those days.

  8. Beautifully expressed, Mr. Shimon. We had two dogs. They were sweet companies. We have not had a cat. I don’t understand why people put birds in cages…

    • A friend of mine once kept a parakeet, and they got along quite well. He would let the bird out for relative long periods of time and they would enjoy each other’s company. But the bird kept escaping. After a while he would come home. But my friend was afraid he would go far and get lost, or not be able to survive by himself because he was so unused to nature, and so he kept him in a cage. I always thought it must be a very lonely life in that cage. In the end, the bird did escape and never returned. After a period of mourning, he bought another one…

  9. Oh Shimon, what a wonderful post! I did enjoy it, very much. I would like to hear more about you sharing the forest with a bear, what an experience! Oh goodness, I laughed at your story of being kicked by a deer, although I bet it wasn’t funny at the time, it was the part about asking for permission for a photo that cracked me up! Brilliant stuff!!!
    I couldn’t imagine life without animals of one kind or another, having been around them all my life, I have enjoyed so many beautiful friendships, some creatures seem more sensitive and understanding than some people. Loved all these photos, what a marvelous thing, out walking with a cat. Lovely seeing Nechama.xxx

    • Very glad you enjoyed. Maybe one of these days I’ll be tempted to share some of what I’ve learned about getting to know animals in their natural habitat. It could get boring though, to those who’re not really interested in such an esoteric subject. Yes, some animals are more sensitive than people. And of course, some people are more sensitive than others. But what most people who haven’t had much experience with animals don’t realize, is that animals are sensitive in different ways from human beings. This business of expecting others to be just like us doesn’t even work with humans, but it’s a popular way of looking at the world these days. My friendships with animals helped me get to know myself better. And you’re so right, those friendships can be very unique and precious. Nechama is really enjoying summer. xxx

  10. I’ve always been around cats and dogs, growing up and as an adult. I get very attached to them and when I lose them it’s heart breaking. I haven’t had a pet since my Molly died in August of 2012. I can’t let myself get close to another pet for fear if the pain when they’re gone. I know I shouldn’t feel that way but I have to protect my heart after having it broken so many times.

    • That’s true Corina… it can be like losing a friend or a relative. I too have had my heart broken a number of times. In fact, when the cat before Nechama died, I promised myself that I would never have another one. I felt I was too old, and that I might not always be able to care for him and her. And I didn’t want the responsibility or the heartbreak. But then one day, I was walking along the street, and saw this little kitten crying. I stopped and looked at her, bending over a bit to see what we had here, and she jumped on my foot and held my leg with two of her paws… and the rest of the story is known to many… we never know what’s waiting for us around the corner.

  11. I would like to read your story of sharing the forest night with a bear. The buck beating that you took would also make a great post.
    And your sensitive ruminations about the sensitivity and enlightenment of certain members of the animal kingdom begs more verbiage.

    We are so fortunate to live in the country but only 15 minutes from the city. This year we have been treated to a red-tail hawk’s active nest in our huge three story Monterey Pine tree. The two chicks are now flying around with their parents screaming from dawn to dusk as they hunt and cavort.

    We have owls in our two owl boxes. At night, as the sun flees the Northern Hemisphere, the owls emerge. At that time, all rodents duck and cover.

    Coyotes and wild pigs hoot and holler. Quail say “chi-ca-go, chi-ca-go” and bluejays squawk religiously about how busy Nature has become.

    • Oh your description of living in the country fills me with glee. I’m so happy for you… especially having a hawk in walking distance. They are relatively rare around here, and though they are officially protected, they are an endangered species in our country. I am attracted more to some animals than others, but I have gotten to know quite a few different species, and often feel affection for wild animals. One of my hardest challenges is what’s happening right now as I write to you. There is a young cat who would like to come into our patio… maybe into our house as well. She is calling out a pathetic blues composition in the night. We can’t even see her… she’s on the other side of the stone half wall that surrounds the patio. But Nechama has made it clear to her that she’s not invited, and I have accepted the decision, not wanting to get in the middle of a catfight. But really, I think that if left to my own devices, I might inadvertently set up a cat hotel right here. It’s hard for me to turn folks away. Thanks for your beautiful comment.

  12. Thank you, Shimon, for taking us along on your leisurely walk with Nachama, for sharing the photos, for sharing your views on pets, and for sharing your animal-encounter tales. I know of no one else who has shared a peaceful spot with a bear! I do know a Wyoming man who tried to share his fishing spot with a thirsty moose. The man ended up treed by the moose for over two hours.

    • Size matters a lot to animals. Though we’re smaller than a horse, and much larger than a rabbit, we are able to communicate with animals that are close to our own proportions. And regardless of the advice heard in some quarters; the bigger they are, the more confident. It would probably be very difficult to convince a Moose of anything if you just happened to meet him. But if you were acquainted with him for some time, and he was in minor trouble, you could possibly lead him somewhere like a lamb. Mammals have a lot of common sense. Thanks for the comment, Myra

  13. Thank you for sharing this post with us; your writing is eloquent and your words are wise…”it’s hard to get on even footing with another living thing once you’ve been hunting him.” I’m glad the cat initiated friendship with you when you were a child. Their hearts are pure and they seem to be drawn to us even when we don’t know our own need for them. Your last line made me laugh 🙂

    • I was very lucky that I had a cat to teach me the ropes when I was a kid. The way I see it, a dog would have been more appropriate. But I was a lonely and unhappy child, and tried to deal with life as it came to me. That cat knew a lot more about life than I did, and it was no trouble for me to feed him in exchange for occasional wisdom. Thank you awhitlow, for coming by, and for your comment. It always makes me happy when I can give someone a smile or a laugh.

  14. I share your affection for and awe of animals, Shimon. I feel we have a connection that at times defies words, for we need not use them when forming these frienships. They define trust, honesty and a level of unconditional affection that many within our own species would do well to emulate. Shalom

    • Dear Mimi, animals represent the full gamut of personalities we can find in men and women from the dog to the hyena. That is the real meaning of the prophesy we find in the bible of the lion lying down by the lamb. One of our greatest weaknesses, is our tendency to be flippant with language. The use of the word awe for instance; I liked the way you used it… and it gives me a shudder at times when I hear ‘awesome’ applied to the most banal experiences. What I have found most exemplary about animals, is that most know their place in the world, and throw themselves completely into whatever they’re doing. Of course, sometimes they are influenced by us, and develop neuroses and other such human faults. Thanks so much for your comment.

  15. Hugs and purrs, friend Shimon. Love, cat.

  16. Oh Shimon. I wish I had time, and space, to share with you all my experiences with animals. I come from a small town and the only times I had with city life was in my training years and just a few while in Fla. Even in Fla, I got to see the real Fla. The wild Florida that snowbirds (tourists) never get to experience. I have barely touched on them in my blog and now I’m getting too far along in years to record what a wonderful life I have had with animlas. My daily whistle contests with my African Grey parrot alone are such fun. And my way too close confrontation with a bear in the wild of my parking area still makes the hair stand up on my neck. As always I enjoy your writings.

    • Yes my dear friend, I know (and often regret) that there is more that we don’t know about one another than what we do know. And yet, we’ve had the pleasure of discovering a common area between us that allows for a real and affectionate relationship. This comes hand in hand with a technology that is still somewhat new for the both of us, old men that we are. I see that as an allegory for our relationship with the universe; there is so much more than we’ll ever know. But we can be truly happy with the little we understand and keep trying to know more.

  17. In a sense, Dixie Rose was my first real pet: an animal with whom I established a long-term relationship, and who taught me a good bit about what it means to be a cat, and what it means to be human. When she first came to live with me, my assumption was that I’d be the one setting the ground rules. It didn’t take long for me to realize the error of my ways.

    I had to accept, for example, that she wasn’t a lap cat, and never would be. But after a time, I found that, if I didn’t press the issue, she would choose her own time and place to come and be by my side. A wise vet tech taught me how to discipline her by hissing, like a mother cat, and how to purr to soothe her. It all was quite remarkable.

    There have been other animals, as well: a squirrel who roamed the house for eight years and got drunk on fermented mesquite beans; the prairie dog who once built a burrow in the sofa; and, in those years in Liberia, a chimp named Zero. Zero lived with the hospital maintenance man and his family, baby-sat their toddler, and served as ball boy when someone decided to play tennis. Here we are — one of my favorite memories from those years.

    Have you ever read the naturalist Loren Eiseley? He once wrote a remarkable essay titled “The Talking Cat.” There used to be an online text, but I can’t find it. If you haven’t read it, I’ll copy it for you and send it via email. It’s not long, but it’s remarkable. One of my favorite quotations from him is, “For I love forms beyond my own, and regret the borders between us.”

    • I am so happy for you Linda, that you had that relationship with Dixie Rose. We can find many different personalities in cats, but their most prominent feature is aristocracy. They may be weak in the ‘unconditional love’ category, but they are masters of style. What you say about cats teaching us what it means to be human speaks for me too. I had the luck to have some fine teachers in this life, from an early age. They shared with me what they had learned. Usually, they had internalized their knowledge, but there were still many cases in which they were just handing down a message that had originated in previous generations. In contrast, cats act out… body and soul. They can teach us mortality, and teach us to observe and listen. They are existentialists.

      I had not heard about Loren Eiseley before you mentioned him, but I’ve read a bit about him now, and I’d love for you to send me ‘The Talking Cat’. I might be more appreciative of borders than Eiseley. The word for definition in Hebrew comes from the root which means fence. And I do thank you so much for sharing that photo of you and Zero. It expresses well what I love best about relationships (with me in the role of the chimp).

  18. Starting at the end of your fascinating personal insights into communications with other species, I would say, thankfully, my reasons for being cautious in general about photographing without permission come from a less violent and astounding sources than yours.

    Cats and dogs do have empathic and sensitive senses; I venture to say cats, in particular, have a significant sixth sense too. A cat usually chooses to stay with its person/s. Loyalty and respect has to run both ways. A dog is less independent and hangs around for want of better, though by then, I have no doubt, trust is gone. It affects every connection it makes from then on. Trust and friendship will have to be earned and re-learned. Yes, we can learn from these behaviours and reactions.

    Of two hampsters we had, one was sprog’s and was sweet, cuddly and doe-eyed. When she died of sedate hampster age, she left a gap in family life. to our surprise, sprog was very matter-of-fact about the hampster’s departure. The other hampster that arrived about the same time as sprog’s hampster, was a rescued runt. She was ‘cursed’ with over-growing teeth, which had to be constantly cut. Hubs did that job. The trust that grew rapidly allowed the minor operation to be regularly performed with relative ease. She was a fun, interesting, Houdini character, which was her premature undoing. She may have had a year or two more with us otherwise. I saw when she was dying she tried to reach me, it was too much effort. She died calmly in my lap. I wept for her and and at her loss. She had taught us much; our friendship had been mutual and it had been a real pleasure to have her in our lives.

    But, as nature decrees, the animal we commune with most is the one more like ourselves.

    • True, we do find it easiest to reach out to those with whom we share greater commonality. And though I agree with what you say about mutual respect and trust, the animals we usually get to know have a much greater instinct than we have. Dogs for instance, are a tribal animal, and they usually see themselves as part of a family. Their ethos usually represents the values of the family they belong to. As I’ve mentioned in comments above, animals are sensitive in different ways than humans. The dog is known for having a better hearing than humans. I have the feeling that the sixth sense that we attribute to cats is most like intuition in humans. It’s the capacity to integrate a lot of little bits of information into a larger picture. Some folks have it more than others, and some deny it completely. As for children, there is so much before them that is new that they can pick and choose, and sometimes they can pass a goldmine, and not give it a second thought. Thanks for your comment, menhir. Always good conversing with you.

  19. No…we never know what’s waiting for us around the corner…thank you for the stories and the images of your friends…and the sweet minutes spent with you..

  20. Of course I love and understand this post so well. I am a human being who feels much more comfortable in the company of animals…I always have and most definitely have experienced moments of deep intuition with them. Animals can teach us so much – if only we humans would sit quietly and be with them. I love the picture of Nechama walking so boldly before you….but as you say always a few steps away.
    I have just returned from an especially beautiful trip to Wales – one of the few places I have really called home. There sitting in fields surrounded by sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits with red kites flying above – I felt very much at peace. I think you would enjoy where I go to in Wales….:xxx

    • I’ve been reading about your trip on your blog Janet, and it really brought me happiness with you. It is a wonderful experience to get together with old friends and beloved landscape and see how time went on for loved ones without you, but still being able to relate to them renewed love and identification. In response to what you said here, I have to say that for most of my life I felt most comfortable with my fellow human beings, and learned most of what I know from them. I think the closer we are to any living being, the more we are aware of the unique qualities of that person, and so have to deal with conflicts and paradoxes that we wouldn’t notice were we not so close. That is why it is sometimes more difficult to find true peace with a brother or sister than it is with a colleague at work; no coincidence that the first murder in the bible was the story of Cain and Abel. And it also helps explain why certain white people think that all blacks look alike. Still, I have had some wonderful friendships with cats, and enjoyed quite a few relationships with other animals too. It would have been wonderful visiting Wales together with you… both for me and my camera. xxx

      • Thank you Shimon. I have to say that for most of my life I haven’t felt comfortable with fellow human beings, unless I got to know them very well. Until that point, I always felt a sense of nervous anxiety around them…not being completely present, and so to feel totally comfortable now is more than wonderful. It is as if a veil has been lifted….I keep saying that I am seeing everything with more clarity and it really is true. As an only child, I did spend much of my childhood alone with animals….which must have something to do with my deep love and trust of them. My friend Tony is coming for lunch today and I am sure we will discuss this at length. He is an excellent example of how when I first met him I felt very anxious and nervous around him, but now I can thoroughly enjoy his and others company….what a relief and break through. However, my love for animals will never diminish……I still hope that one of these days while we are still alive I might get to meet you and of course the beautiful Nechmama…..Have a lovely weekend. Janet xxx

        • Though I was much younger when I learned the great pleasure of human companionship, I have a similar feeling to yours when it comes to enjoying the time and the flow of life. I too feel as if a veil has been lifted, and that nothing is more urgent than the appreciation of the world around me. From a state of commitment, I have moved on to relaxation, and have only begun to truly appreciate it. So glad to hear of your pleasant meetings with Tony… and I too would enjoy sharing a bit of relaxation with you. Maybe Nechama would sing for us. Thanks for your good wishes. You know, I’m always in your corner. xxx

  21. I loved this post, Shimon – and the pictures rounded it off perfectly.
    As you know, I have a special affinity for cats, but I love all animals – well, most, anyway 😉
    First, I lived with one cat (I won’t say “had” a cat, because that would imply ownership, and, if anything, Minxie owned ME). After she left me for the Rainbow Bridge, I was privileged to share my life with Possum and Pixie and after they, too, passed on to the great Fields of Catnip in the Sky, Trixie, Caspurr and Shimshi came to comfort me. Every cat I have ever met has a different personality, just like people – and there have been dogs in my life too, who belonged (if that word is even permissible) to my father and stepmother – Sammy, an adorable black poodle, Stephanie the Labrador princess and now, Messi, a Canaanite hound (yes, he loves knocking a ball around). Each one an individual soul. You only have to look in their eyes.

    • Oh, I think it’s okay to say ‘I had a cat’, in the same way we say, I have a brother or a sister. How wonderful that you had so many dogs and cats in your life, Shimona. I too have lived with cats for most of my life, but only learned to love a dog in the last few years. It was a great eye opening experience. I had been acquainted with dogs before that, but once I had loved a dog, I saw all dogs differently. I was very lucky in that I had an Arab friend who I loved (we were housemates) over 50 years ago, and that too enabled me to see Arabs differently for the rest of my life. Thanks so much for your comment.

  22. Many blessings from our furry friends and nature. Hugs for you my lovely and Nechama. ❤ xXx

  23. How lovely the way you describe these deep sensations towards these lovely sentient beings with whom we’re not able to talk the same way we are used to; the language is “vibrations” and not mere words in thousands of different languages. I can use empathy, dear Shimon… especially with cats!
    We have now only five, unfortunately, time elapses for them too and our family in the years lost some of them… we use to have 10 inside the house and other 10 for B&B 🙂 full of liberty to go and come when pleased.
    Have a lovely Sabbath, Shimon 🙂 c

    • So true when you speak of vibrations, for what is purring if not the most pleasing vibrations around. But cats have a number of languages at their disposal, and they relate to different personalities in different ways. Nechama has the softest purr I’ve ever known, and when I receive visitors she often makes herself scarce, waiting out the visit. But I have seen her react to male cat who tried to sexually harass her… she was a holy terror! As for empathy, I think we definitely share that talent. So glad to think of you in the company of five cats. That’s sure to keep you amused much of the time. With best wishes always, dear Claudine.

  24. Very good. Love the cat sculptures.

  25. Great post Shimon. Couldn’t attempt to take our cat for a walk here. I’m a cat person. I admire their independence. My eldest son has a Pitball; follows him around like a little child.

    • Thanks very much, Peter. I understand. Some places are dangerous for cats. Jerusalem is kind of cat city. People have respect for cats, and a lot of private citizens offer food and water to the city cats, and they’re found all around town.

  26. Nechama is a lovely name!

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